Minister Joe O’Brien announces pilot projects to support Local Authority engagement with marginalised communities

4th May, 2022

Minister of State for Charities and Community Development, Joe O Brien TD, today announced four pilot projects to support engagement with marginalised communities in planning and decision-making processes.

Four Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs) have been selected to develop and test engagement strategies to support inclusive participation.

The project aims to develop toolkits that can be adapted and used by local authorities and other state agencies to enable better engagement with hard to reach groups.  

 Following an expressions of interest process administered by Pobal on behalf of the Department of Rural and Community Development, funding of up to €40,000 has been approved for each of four LCDCs.

Clare, Fingal, Galway City and Wicklow will undertake pilot programmes to support participation and engagement by marginalised and disadvantaged communities in the Local Economic and Community Planning (LECP) process which is currently underway in each local authority area.

The Fingal successful programme is the Fingal LGBTI+ Engage pilot project will be a joint initiative of LGBT Ireland, Outcomers, Fingal LCDC, Fingal PPN and Fingal County Council Community & Sports Office. The project concept was developed from a recent initiative between FCC Community and Sports Office and Outcomers that is ‘reaching out’ and developing supports for the LGBTI+ Community in Balbriggan.

Announcing the successful applicants, Minister Joe O Brien TD, said:

I am really pleased to announce the four pilots to lead the way in the engagement of marginalised communities.  I am delighted that Fingal County Council have put forward a successful project.  The most recent Fingal Inclusion Week had an absence of LGBTI+ community initiatives and representation, and this project aims to rectify that. 

“I have made up to €40,000 in Dormant Accounts funding available to each of the four LCDCs to act as exemplars in reaching out to those furthest from participation and the decision-making processes.  

“I hope that the learnings gathered will inform enhanced engagement with marginalised groups by local decision making bodies, to ensure better outcomes for all members of our communities.”

In addition to the pilot programme, information and resources are being provided to all local authorities to support their engagement with marginalised communities.

National events will showcase good practice in relation to engagement strategies, with inputs from experts and national advocacy and representative organisations.

This work supports Ireland’s commitment to sustainable development, and fulfils a strategic objective under Sustainable, Inclusive and Empowered Communities, the five-year strategy to support the community and voluntary sector in Ireland. 

Attending an event to launch the project this morning, Minister O’Brien said:

“In addition to the pilots, I am delighted to be here to attend the first of two national events for LCDCs and advocacy groups to share good practice in consultation and engagement of marginalised groups, in planning and decision-making processes.

“The voice of all members of our communities must be present in the design, implementation and review of decisions that impact on all of our lives – inclusive consultation and meaningful engagement are key to this.

“Ultimately, the best decisions are those which are made together, with the opportunity for everyone to share their perspective. 

“Today’s event will consider not just the high-level policy context, but also existing best practise and experience, and available resources on inclusion of marginalised groups in decision making processes.”

A second event later this year will review the pilots’ experience and focus on sharing learnings to encourage discussion on the opportunities for engagement, and how they are best embedded in consultation processes.

– ENDS –